Peonies are loved by gardeners around the world for their incredibly dramatic flowers, though all too often their blooming period seems to be over in the blink of an eye. There are some peonies that will bloom for longer time frames of up to four weeks, while others only last a single week.
There are ways you can extend the display of peonies in your garden by using some clever planting techniques, to get flowering peonies for most of the summer. Here we investigate when different types of peonies bloom, and how long they remain in flower.
There are three categories of peonies which all types of peonies can be sorted into. These are tree peonies, herbaceous peonies, and intersectional peonies. All of these peonies produce the popular flowers we know and love in a range of colors and sizes, but the number of blooms they send out, the time of year they flourish, and the lifespan of the flowers will vary.
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Types of Peonies and Their Blooming Time
Tree peonies are botanically known as Paeonia suffruticosa, and they are sometimes commonly referred to as Moutan peonies. They produce flowers which are typically very large, in late April to early May. In hot climates, you can expect the flowers of a tree peony to last from seven to ten days.
If you are growing your tree peony in a cooler climate, or you have planted it in a spot where it is protected from the hot afternoon sun, then the flowers can remain in bloom for as long as two weeks.
These types of peonies typically take the shape of a small to the medium-sized bush, which will die back to the ground every fall, and bounce back to life the following spring. There are over 60 different species of herbaceous peony, but the most common include the Paeonia lactiflora and Paeonia Officinalis.
These peonies are very low maintenance, and as long as they are planted in an appropriate spot they will pretty much look after themselves. Herbaceous peonies can be early-season bloomers or mid-season bloomers, producing flowers in either May or June. Their flowers can be visually spectacular, though they will only be on show for around a week.
Intersectional peonies, also referred to as Itoh peonies, are hybrid plants that were created by crossing the tree peony with the herbaceous peony. The result is a peony that offers the best of these different species. Itoh peonies have the low maintenance quality of herbaceous peonies, along with the perennial nature, and they have the large, sturdy, and showy flowers of the tree peony.
Like herbaceous peonies, Itoh peonies will die back to ground level in the winter and return the following spring. If you are looking for a peony that will display flowers for the longest amount of time, then an Itoh peony will be your best option, as these are able to remain in bloom for as long as four weeks.
They can produce a tremendous amount of flowers each season, and they produce buds in sequence so that as some peonies fade, new ones open. Itoh peonies typically bloom in early summer, at the beginning of June.
How Long Do Peonies Bloom For?
The length of time your peony will bloom will be determined by the type of peony it is.
Herbaceous peonies bloom for the shortest amount of time, usually around a week, but sometimes up to ten days in cooler weather.
Tree peonies will bloom for the second longest amount of time, generally up to two weeks in ideal conditions.
The Itoh peony takes the title for the longest type of blooming peony since these plants will remain in bloom for an impressive four weeks.
How Long Do Peonies Live For?
Peonies are long-lasting plants that will remain blooming for many decades. The tree peony looks quite dainty, but in fact, these are tough plants that typically live from 50 to 80 years. Herbaceous peonies will live for a similar length of time, generally between 50 to 100 years. Itoh peonies are known to be the longest-lasting type of peony, able to live for more than 100 years.
If you want to help extend the life of your peony, ensure it is planted no more than a few inches in the ground, in a suitably sunny spot, in well-draining soil. Peonies do not like to be moved or disturbed, so avoid trying to dig up your peony, and don’t attempt to divide it when it grows bigger. Instead, leave it in the same place for the entirety of its life, and it may well outlive you.
How to Make Peonies Bloom All Season
Most peonies do not stay in bloom for very long, and even the Itoh peony, which blooms for the greatest length of time, will only stay in bloom for a maximum of four weeks. Some peonies, such as tree peonies and herbaceous peonies, can be encouraged to bloom for longer if they are kept out of the direct sun on hot summer afternoons, but sadly there is no way you can force a peony to stay in bloom.
However, there is a way you can select and plant your peonies so that you have a flowering display to enjoy in your garden from spring right through to summer. To do this, you’ll need to get hold of a range of different peony plants which bloom at different points in the season.
Use tree peonies for early color, as these will bloom in late April to early May, and add early season herbaceous peonies to the border, which will start to open out just as the tree peony flowers are fading. Also, mix some mid-season peonies into the garden, and these will bloom next.
Incorporate some Itoh peonies into your garden landscape, as these will begin to bloom when the mid-season herbaceous peonies are halfway through their flowering period, and these will continue to produce buds all throughout June. Planting peonies in this way can allow you to enjoy peony flowers in the garden from April all the way through to the end of June.
Finally, caring for peonies after blooming is very important for a year-round blooming peony garden if you want the peonies to start the next growth phase and bloom in the next season
Which Peonies Bloom First?
If you look forward to the arrival of peony flowers every year and simply can’t wait for them to arrive, then opt for early-blooming varieties that will add early color to your garden. Tree peonies will bloom first, generally in late April or early May, with early-season herbaceous peonies blooming soon after.
How Long Do Cut Peonies Bloom For?
Cut peonies will usually last for between seven and ten days, though they will last longer if they have been cut at exactly the right time. Peonies should be cut when they are in the bud, and the flowers have not yet opened. There are ways you can encourage your cut peony flowers to last for as long as four to six weeks if you’re prepared to take special measures.
One sure way to make cut peonies last longer is to store them in the fridge overnight. You should also add sugar to the water, and change it every two days, to extend its shelf life. By drying the peonies, you can store them and use them year-round.